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Chairman Bernie Sanders Holds Town Hall on Teacher Pay

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On Monday, CEC senior staff attended a town hall meeting hosted by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that focused on the need to increase pay for teachers as part of the solution to teacher recruitment and retention. The event began with a montage of testimonials from educators across the country about the challenges of current working conditions, and prominently featured multiple special educators. The panel included four educators from across the country as well as Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), who joined the HELP Committee this year.

Panelists discussed both the reasons they love teaching and the current challenges facing the workforce, including low pay and the mental health crisis. In his opening Remarks, Sanders pointed out the inequity in workforce compensation, stating “In America today, the top 15 Wall Street hedge fund managers make more money in a single year than every kindergarten teacher in America.” He said that this economic challenge with the teacher workforce is why he will be introducing legislation that will, among other things, increase the minimum starting salary of a teacher to $60,000 per year. The legislation, which could be introduced in the coming weeks, is also expected to include provisions that focus on high poverty schools and educator quality. 

View the Town Hall recording here.

Posted:  17 February, 2023

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